Becoming a sustainable energy consumer not only decreases costs but also decreases greenhouse gas emissions. Typically, the largest consumer of energy is refrigeration and the largest consumer of fuel is the brewing process. These two locations should be addressed first to reduce fuel and energy consumption. Simple approaches such as properly insulating coolers and refrigerators as well as using strip curtains can be impactful. Many energy providers in the state of Iowa provide rebates for programmable thermostats, strip curtains, efficient AC units, geothermal systems, photovoltaic energy systems, and new insulation. An effective way to reduce fuel usage in the brewing process is to develop efficient methods. Methods could include allowing the mash tun water to slowly come to temperature overnight instead of using large amounts of fuel to heat the water more quickly.
Energy consumption should first be observed through an analytical viewpoint; Are pipes and process lines free of leaks and properly insulated? Are air filters in good repair? Are brewhouse heat recovery and efficiency projects in place? Closely inspecting energy consumption month by month can provide insight as to what is working and what is not.
Goals should be set in order to involve all employees on energy reduction efforts. Meeting monthly to discuss potential improvements can help in determining what methods are best suited to reduce energy consumption. Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) can be used to determine a breweries energy intensity ratio by dividing total kWh used by total barrels produced in one years time. This method can also be applied to packaging (kWh/ bbl packaged), refrigeration (kWh/ bbl packaged), electricity (kWh/ bbl packaged), and brewpub efficiency (total sales/ hours of operation).